Monday, 1 June 2009

desopilar o fígado

literally 'cleanse the liver' that's to say, cheer up!
Up, Down.

Mark TwainOne day as I was sitting, weary and depressed, I heard a voice that seemed to whisper in my ear, "Cheer up, things could be worse". So I cheered up, and sure enough, things got worse!

I had no shoes, and I complained, until I met a man who had no feet!

both of these came to me from my father, he loved the comics, the 'funny papers' as he called them, and he used to laugh out loud reading them sometimes, he had rheumatic fever when he was a teenager and spent some long weeks or months recuperating in bed, during which time he read (so he told me) all of De Maupassant and all of Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens, from the latter may have come the sensibility to so enjoy comics, and he passed it on to me God bless 'im!

for those who like to skip to the bottom line (a pun in this case :-) here it is:

We must get on with this.
Time is running out.

some 'recalibration' is required alright, and maybe even more than 'recalibration' do you think?

Brasil is not that tectonically active, that's to say, it is mostly stable as far as earthquakes go ... BUT ... there is a fault line that runs through Angra dos Reis where the wizards decided to build Brasil's contribution to the 'peaceful uses of Nuclear Energy', i have lived in Angra do Reis, a beautiful beautiful place surrounded by islands, equivalent in some sense (for k-k-Canadians maybe) to the Thousand Islands area around Kingston, or Manitoulin Island in Georgain Bay / Lake Huron, home of the M'Chigeeng First Nation wind farm, or the north shore of Lake Superior near Thunder Bay (this map is a big one and takes a few minutes to load)

but, sad to say, Brasilians are bungling incompetents just like the rest of us, and are managing to spill the odd bit of nuclear material into Paradise: Após acidente em Angra 2, conselho deve mudar regra de manuseio de material nuclear, Cirilo Junior/ Folha Online, 29/05/2009.

Marc Roberts, ThrobGoblins

Mudança climática já causa 315 mil mortes por ano, diz estudo, Megan Rowling, sexta-feira, 29 de maio de 2009.
Climate change causes 315,000 deaths a year: report, Megan Rowling, May 29, 2009.

three hundred thousand seems a paltry number to me these days, but obviously i have turned into a jaded faded junkie nurse ...

Andrew S. Grove, bio.

Andrew Grove IntelAndrew Grove IntelAndrew Grove IntelAndrew Grove Intel

Only the Paranoid Survive: Book Preface, Andrew S. Grove, 2005.

hell, someone might wonder why i post this guy's face? might think it was unadorned admiration, or even admiration, or ... envy, whatever ... this blog is mostly an aide memoire, simply not to forget, but not to forget what? the details of Andy Grove's physiognomy? his couloured contact lenses? his features covered by his fallen gown? hardly ... f'rinstance, even in the midst of imagined suffering i noticed the other day in Burl Ives' wikipedia entry, "In his later years, Ives and his wife, Dorothy, and their children lived in a home located alongside the water in Anacortes, in the Puget Sound area of Washington. He also had another home just south of Hope Town on Elbow Cay, a barrier island of the Abacos in the Bahamas." which i read, admitedly, with some envy, but ... the wealth! my God! "all the sweethearts you can hold and don't come back with stories untold" ... anyway, just to clear that up :-)

Pearls Before Swine, 09-05-30 Andy Grove

the Tragedy of the Commons is an evocative phrase, many people actually understand how it works (see Wikipedia), i have mentioned it a few times here and there: Codfish, Newfoundland, Iceland, Canada, and Negrume da Noite - ai ai ai!, here are links to Hardin's original articles: The Tragedy of the Commons I, Ohio State, and The Tragedy of the Commons II, Economics Library.

so here is a collection of 'texts', starting with the Real Climate blog, normally i would not recapitulate all of these words, but the Real Climate site is broken, has been for some time, and ... ok, i am concerned that it might disappear one day, probably exactly one nanosecond after this site disappears, after alllllll the sites disappear, who can say when it will happen? could be at any moment

The tragedy of climate commons, Real Climate, 7 May 2009.
The History of the Northern Cod Fishery, 1996 or so.
A Run on the Banks,, 2003 or so.
Climate Impacts of Waxman-Markey, Chip Knappenberger.
Climate Impacts of Waxman-Markey (Part II), Chip Knappenberger.

Chip Knappenberger repeats 'far from certain' a few times in his reports, but not so often as to indicate any real uncertainty :-) not psychotic, that's to say, just being cautious as behooves the bearer of bad news, namely that the much-debated and contentious Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act will not do the job, uh-oh!

a-and finally, another fucking (the temptation to curse at them was too great) Adobe pdf, too hard to reformat in HTML, Recalibrating the Law of Humans with the Laws of Nature, which, after pages and pages of 'In Collaboration With' and 'Distinguished Advisors Panel' and 'Consultants Working Group' and 'Research Assistants' finally gets down to it (eventually finishes with any number of pages of 'Endnotes') ... i have laboriously converted the Foreword, the whole report is worth reading ... but knowing that most will not read ...

In our generation, a series of shocks of recognition are leading to the acceptance of an undeniable though inconvenient truth — human activity on this one world, on this whole earth, is not only encountering limits but is also producing changes that are irreversible and affecting everyone. Repeated climatic events of unprecedented consequence to human life, and information arrayed by computer-facilitated science, have provided ample evidence to stimulate each of us to epiphanous recognitions of our circumstances.

We are now seeking to accelerate the pace at which our species may respond to this third modern epiphany, this third shocked recognition of our circumstances.

... We must get on with this. Time is running out.

too big to fail do you think? like Ernie the Cave King said in Marc Roberts' cartoon above? too big like what? like GM? like Chrysler? like dinosaurs?

as i read the Recalibrating the Law of Humans with the Laws of Nature report i was thinking of Mark Kingwell's modest proposal of a few days ago, these men and women, mostly lawyers by the look of it (but not to hold that against them :-) are obviously smart, informed, engaged ... i wish i didn't have the feeling that their words will paper the bottom of birdcages, probably in one of Andy Grove's palaces (should he happen to keep birds), Toronto, for example, is in the throes of increasing the number of bike lanes, a modest objective to be sure, and there is SERIOUS opposition from motorists ... i was thinking a few weeks ago of carrying a placard at the corner of Yonge & Queen saying something like, "CARS ARE THE PROBLEM, WHAT ARE YOU DOING SITTING THERE IN ONE OF THEM?" but i realize now that they would probably get out of their cars just to beat me up, the Mayor and instigator of bike lanes, David Miller, is regarded by many as a nut-bar ... ai ai ai

(aí que bom, achei que ela me largou mas parece que não, stopped counting cigarette packs though, just a matter of time now, 24 days without and my knees began to work like normal human knees again but i'm already back to going up the stairs one leg at a time, when they both go i guess i will have to move to a ground floor flat :-)

confundir as coisas
"noventa nove percentagem das pessoas confundem as coisas que brasileira é prostituta, eles tem essa visao da gente"

        Monalisa Lúcia, concurso de Mulata do Gois.

the link above to Mulata do Gois includes interviews with the twelve contestants for 2009, no idea how long it will stay there and of course you have to speak portugese to understand, definitely, yet another, eye-opener ...

Carnaval, Mulata do GoisCarnaval, Mulata do GoisCarnaval, Mulata do GoisCarnaval, Mulata do GoisCarnaval, Mulata do GoisCarnaval, Mulata do GoisCarnaval, Mulata do GoisCarnaval, Mulata do GoisCarnaval, Mulata do GoisCarnaval, Mulata do GoisCarnaval, Mulata do GoisCarnaval, Mulata do Gois

Após acidente em Angra 2, conselho deve mudar regra de manuseio de material nuclear, Cirilo Junior/ Folha Online, 29/05/2009.
Mudança climática já causa 315 mil mortes por ano, diz estudo, Megan Rowling, sexta-feira, 29 de maio de 2009.
Climate change causes 315,000 deaths a year: report, Megan Rowling, May 29, 2009.
Only the Paranoid Survive: Book Preface, Andrew S. Grove, 2005.
The tragedy of climate commons, Real Climate, 7 May 2009.
The History of the Northern Cod Fishery, by Industry Canada, 1996 or so.
A Run on the Banks,, 2003 or so.
Climate Impacts of Waxman-Markey (the IPCC-based arithmetic of no gain), Chip Knappenberger, May 6, 2009.
Climate Impacts of Waxman-Markey (Part II)—Global Sign-Up, Chip Knappenberger, May 7, 2009.
Foreword to Recalibrating the Law of Humans with the Laws of Nature.

Após acidente em Angra 2, conselho deve mudar regra de manuseio de material nuclear, Cirilo Junior/ Folha Online, 29/05/2009.

Os procedimentos de manuseio de equipamentos com material nuclear poderão ser revistos, depois do vazamento de urânio na usina nuclear Angra 2, no último dia 15. O diretor de radioproteção e segurança nuclear da CNEN (Comissão Nacional de Energia Nuclear), Laércio Vinhas, disse nesta quinta-feira (28) que, dependendo da avaliação do acidente, as exigências poderão ser ampliadas.

"Será feita uma avaliação dos procedimentos, que, se necessários, serão revistos, e o treinamento será intensificado", afirmou, ao participar de almoço promovido pelo Clube de Engenharia, no Rio.

O vazamento ocorreu quando um funcionário que fazia a limpeza de um equipamento em uma sala de descontaminação de Angra 2, em Angra dos Reis (RJ), esqueceu uma porta aberta e houve circulação do material radioativo. Quatro pessoas que estavam próximas ao local foram contaminadas por urânio e passaram por descontaminação.

De acordo com o diretor de gestão do meio ambiente da Eletronuclear, Pérsio Jordani, os quatro funcionários contaminados retornaram ao trabalho ontem (27), e continuam sendo monitorados, passando por constantes baterias de exames.

Jordani observou que a estatal vai adotar todos os procedimentos possíveis para evitar a repetição de acidente deste tipo. Para ele, o vazamento não criará empecilhos para a construção da usina nuclear Angra 3, que aguarda licença de uso do solo da prefeitura de Angra dos Reis para o início das obras.

O representante da Eletronuclear acrescentou que a previsão é que esta autorização saia amanhã (30). Para isso, a estatal está fechando acordo com a prefeitura sobre o valor a ser pago pelo uso do solo, avaliado em aproximadamente R$ 150 milhões.

"A usina está prevista para começar a operar em 2014, mas estamos trabalhando para antecipar este prazo e recuperar o tempo perdido", disse Jordani ao se referir aos atrasos nas concessões das licenças.

Laércio Vinhas informou ainda que a CNEN concluiu recentemente proposta para a criação de uma agência reguladora do setor nuclear. Para a criação da agência, será preciso apresentar projeto de lei a ser avaliado pelo Congresso.

Ele explicou que a agência ficaria responsável pelo licenciamento, fiscalização e controle das atividades ligadas à área nuclear. Ao CNEN, caberia atividades de pesquisa e desenvolvimento. (Fonte: Cirilo Junior/ Folha Online)

Mudança climática já causa 315 mil mortes por ano, diz estudo, Megan Rowling, sexta-feira, 29 de maio de 2009.

LONDRES (Reuters) - A mudança climática mata cerca de 315 mil pessoas por ano, de fome, doenças ou desastres naturais, e o número deve subir para 500 mil até 2030, segundo um relatório divulgado nesta sexta-feira pelo Fórum Humanitário Global (FHG), entidade com sede em Genebra.

O estudo estima que a mudança climática afete seriamente 325 milhões de pessoas por ano, e que em 20 anos esse número irá dobrar, atingindo o equivalente a 10 por cento da população mundial da atualidade (6,7 bilhões).

Os prejuízos decorrentes do aquecimento global já superam os 125 bilhões de dólares por ano -- mais do que o fluxo da ajuda dos países ricos para os pobres -- e devem chegar a 340 bilhões de dólares por ano até 2030, segundo o relatório.

"A mudança climática é o maior desafio humanitário emergente do nosso tempo, causando sofrimento para centenas de milhões de pessoas no mundo todo", disse nota assinada pelo ex-secretário-geral da ONU Kofi Annan, presidente do FHG.

"Os primeiros atingidos e os mais afetados são os grupos mais pobres do mundo, embora eles pouco tenham feito para causar o problema", acrescentou.

De acordo com o estudo, os países em desenvolvimento sofrem mais de 90 por cento do ônus humano e econômico da mudança climática, embora os 50 países mais pobres respondam por menos de 1 por cento das emissões de gases do efeito estufa.

Annan defendeu que a conferência climática de dezembro da ONU em Copenhague aprove um tratado eficaz, justo e compulsório para substituir o Protocolo de Kyoto. "Copenhague precisa ser o acordo internacional mais ambicioso já negociado", escreveu Annan na introdução do relatório. "A alternativa é a fome em massa, a migração em massa e a doença em massa."

O estudo alerta que o real impacto do aquecimento global deve ser muito mais grave do que o texto prevê, já que sua base são os cenários mais conservadores estabelecidos pela ONU. Novas pesquisas científicas apontam para uma mudança climática maior e mais rápida.

O relatório pede especial atenção às 500 milhões de pessoas consideradas extremamente vulneráveis, por viverem em países pobres propensos a secas, inundações, tempestades, elevação do nível dos mares e desertificação.

Dos 20 países mais vulneráveis, 15 ficam na África, segundo o estudo. O Sul da Ásia e pequenos países insulares também são muito afetados.

O texto diz que, para evitar o pior, seria preciso multiplicar por cem os esforços de adaptação à mudança climática nos países em desenvolvimento. Verbas internacionais destinadas a isso alcançam apenas 400 milhões de dólares por ano, enquanto o custo estimado da mudança climática fica em 32 bilhões de dólares.

"O financiamento dos países ricos para ajudar os pobres e vulneráveis a se adaptarem à mudança climática não chega nem a 1 por cento do que é necessário", disse Barbara Stocking, executiva-chefe da ONG britânica Oxfam e integrante do conselho diretor do FHG. "Esta flagrante injustiça precisa ser resolvida em Copenhague em dezembro."

Climate change causes 315,000 deaths a year: report, Megan Rowling, May 29, 2009.

LONDON (Reuters) - Climate change kills about 315,000 people a year through hunger, sickness and weather disasters, and the annual death toll is expected to rise to half a million by 2030, a report said on Friday.

The study, commissioned by the Geneva-based Global Humanitarian Forum (GHF), estimates that climate change seriously affects 325 million people every year, a number that will more than double in 20 years to 10 percent of the world's population (now about 6.7 billion).

Economic losses due to global warming amount to over $125 billion annually -- more than the flow of aid from rich to poor nations -- and are expected to rise to $340 billion each year by 2030, according to the report.

"Climate change is the greatest emerging humanitarian challenge of our time, causing suffering to hundreds of millions of people worldwide," Kofi Annan, former U.N. secretary-general and GHF president, said in a statement.

"The first hit and worst affected are the world's poorest groups, and yet they have done least to cause the problem."

The report says developing countries bear more than nine-tenths of the human and economic burden of climate change, while the 50 poorest countries contribute less than 1 percent of the carbon emissions that are heating up the planet.

Annan urged governments due to meet at U.N. talks in Copenhagen in December to agree on an effective, fair and binding global pact to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, the world's main mechanism for tackling global warming.

"Copenhagen needs to be the most ambitious international agreement ever negotiated," he wrote in an introduction to the report. "The alternative is mass starvation, mass migration and mass sickness."

The study warns that the true human impact of global warming is likely to be far more severe than it predicts, because it uses conservative U.N. scenarios. New scientific evidence points to greater and more rapid climate change.

The report calls for a particular focus on the 500 million people it identifies as extremely vulnerable because they live in poor countries most prone to droughts, floods, storms, sea-level rise and creeping deserts.

Africa is the region most at risk from climate change, home to 15 of the 20 most vulnerable countries, the report says. Other areas also facing the highest level of threat include South Asia and small island developing states.

To avoid the worst outcomes, the report says efforts to adapt to the effects of climate change must be scaled up 100 times in developing countries. International funds pledged for this purpose amount to only $400 million, compared with an average estimated cost of $32 billion annually, it notes.

"Funding from rich countries to help the poor and vulnerable adapt to climate change is not even 1 percent of what is needed," said Barbara Stocking, chief executive of Oxfam in Britain and a GHF board member.

"This glaring injustice must be addressed at Copenhagen in December."

Only the Paranoid Survive: Book Preface, Andrew S. Grove, 2005.

Only the Paranoid Survive: Book Preface, Andrew S. Grove, 2005.

Sooner or later, something fundamental in your business world will change.

I'm often credited with the motto, "Only the paranoid survive." I have no idea when I first said this, but the fact remains that, when it comes to business, I believe in the value of paranoia. Business success contains the seeds of its own destruction. The more successful you are, the more people want a chunk of your business and then another chunk and then another until there is nothing left. I believe that the prime responsibility of a manager is to guard constantly against other people's attacks and to inculcate this guardian attitude in the people under his or her management.

The things I tend to be paranoid about vary. I worry about products getting screwed up, and I worry about products getting introduced prematurely. I worry about factories not performing well, and I worry about having too many factories. I worry about hiring the right people, and I worry about morale slacking off.

And, of course, I worry about competitors. I worry about other people figuring out how to do what we do better or cheaper, and displacing us with our customers.

But these worries pale in comparison to how I feel about what I call strategic inflection points.

I'll describe what a strategic inflection point is a bit later in this book. For now, let me just say that a strategic inflection point is a time in the life of a business when its fundamentals are about to change. That change can mean an opportunity to rise to new heights. But it may just as likely signal the beginning of the end.

Strategic inflection points can be caused by technological change but they are more than technological change. They can be caused by competitors but they are more than just competition. They are full-scale changes in the way business is conducted, so that simply adopting new technology or fighting the competition as you used to may be insufficient. They build up force so insidiously that you may have a hard time even putting a finger on what has changed, yet you know that something has. Let's not mince words: A strategic inflection point can be deadly when unattended to. Companies that begin a decline as a result of its changes rarely recover their previous greatness.

But strategic inflection points do not always lead to disaster. When the way business is being conducted changes, it creates opportunities for players who are adept at operating in the new way. This can apply to newcomers or to incumbents, for whom a strategic inflection point may mean an opportunity for a new period of growth.

You can be the subject of a strategic inflection point but you can also be the cause of one. Intel, where I work, has been both. In the mid-eighties, the Japanese memory producers brought upon us an inflection point so overwhelming that it forced us out of memory chips and into the relatively new field of microprocessors. The microprocessor business that we have dedicated ourselves to has since gone on to cause the mother of all inflection points for other companies, bringing very difficult times to the classical mainframe computer industry. Having both been affected by strategic inflection points and having caused them, I can safely say that the former is tougher. I've grown up in a technological industry. Most of my experiences are rooted there. I think in terms of technological concepts and metaphors, and a lot of my examples in this book come from what I know. But strategic inflection points, while often brought about by the workings of technology, are not restricted to technological industries.

The fact that an automated teller machine could be built has changed banking. If interconnected inexpensive computers can be used in medical diagnosis and consulting, it may change medical care. The possibility that all entertainment content can be created, stored, transmitted and displayed in digital form may change the entire media industry. In short, strategic inflection points are about fundamental change in any business, technological or not.

We live in an age in which the pace of technological change is pulsating ever faster, causing waves that spread outward toward all industries. This increased rate of change will have an impact on you, no matter what you do for a living. It will bring new competition from new ways of doing things, from corners that you don't expect.

It doesn't matter where you live. Long distances used to be a moat that both insulated and isolated people from workers on the other side of the world. But every day, technology narrows that moat inch by inch. Every person in the world is on the verge of becoming both a coworker and a competitor to every one of us, much the same as our colleagues down the hall of the same office building are. Technological change is going to reach out and sooner or later change something fundamental in your business world.

Are such developments a constructive or a destructive force? In my view, they are both. And they are inevitable. In technology, whatever can be done will be done. We can't stop these changes. We can't hide from them. Instead, we must focus on getting ready for them. The lessons of dealing with strategic inflection points are similar whether you're dealing with a company or your own career. If you run a business, you must recognize that no amount of formal planning can anticipate such changes. Does that mean you shouldn't plan? Not at all. You need to plan the way a fire department plans: It cannot anticipate where the next fire will be, so it has to shape an energetic and efficient team that is capable of responding to the unanticipated as well as to any ordinary event. Understanding the nature of strategic inflection points and what to do about them will help you safeguard your company's well-being. It is your responsibility to guide your company out of harm's way and to place it in a position where it can prosper in the new order. Nobody else can do this but you. If you are an employee, sooner or later you will be affected by a strategic inflection point. Who knows what your job will look like after cataclysmic change sweeps through your industry and engulfs the company you work for? Who knows if your job will even exist and, frankly, who will care besides you?

Until very recently, if you went to work at an established company, you could assume that your job would last the rest of your working life. But when companies no longer have lifelong careers themselves, how can they provide one for their employees?

As these companies struggle to adapt, the methods of doing business that worked very well for them for decades are becoming history. Companies that have had generations of employees growing up under a no-layoff policy are now dumping 10,000 people onto the street at a crack. The sad news is, nobody owes you a career. Your career is literally your business. You own it as a sole proprietor. You have one employee: yourself. You are in competition with millions of similar businesses: millions of other employees all over the world. You need to accept ownership of your career, your skills and the timing of your moves. It is your responsibility to protect this personal business of yours from harm and to position it to benefit from the changes in the environment. Nobody else can do that for you.

Having been a manager at Intel for many years, I've made myself a student of strategic inflection points. Thinking about them has helped our business survive in an increasingly competitive environment. I'm an engineer and a manager, but I have always had an urge to teach, to share with others what I've figured out for myself. It is that same urge that makes me want to share the lessons I've learned.

This book is not a memoir. I am involved in managing a business and deal daily with customers and partners, and speculate constantly about the intentions of competitors. In writing this book, I sometimes draw on observations I have made through such interactions. But these encounters didn't take place with the notion that they would make it into any public arena. They were business discussions that served a purpose for both Intel and others' businesses, and I have to respect that. So please forgive me if some of these stories are camouflaged in generic descriptions and anonymity. It can't be helped.

What this book is about is the impact of changing rules. It's about finding your way through uncharted territories. Through examples and reflections on my and others' experiences, I hope to raise your awareness of what it's like to go through cataclysmic changes and to provide a framework in which to deal with them.

The tragedy of climate commons, Real Climate, 7 May 2009.

Filed under: Climate Science— gavin @ 9:41 AM - ()
Imagine a group of 100 fisherman faced with declining stocks and worried about the sustainability of their resource and their livelihoods. One of them works out that the total sustainable catch is about 20% of what everyone is catching now (with some uncertainty of course) but that if current trends of increasing catches (about 2% a year) continue the resource would be depleted in short order. Faced with that prospect, the fishermen gather to decide what to do. The problem is made more complicated because some groups of fishermen are much more efficient than the others. The top 5 catchers, catch 20% of the fish, and the top 20 catch almost 75% of the fish. Meanwhile the least efficient 50 catch only 10% of the fish and barely subsist. Clearly, fairness demands that the top catchers lead the way in moving towards a more sustainable future.

The top 5 do start discussing how to manage the transition. They realise that the continued growth in catches - driven by improved technology and increasing effort - is not sustainable, and make a plan to reduce their catch by 80% over a number of years. But there is opposition - manufacturers of fishing boats, tackle and fish processing plants are worried that this would imply less sales for them in the short term. Strangely, they don't seem worried that a complete collapse of the fishery would mean no sales at all - preferring to think that the science can't possibly be correct and that everything will be fine. These manufacturers set up a number of organisations to advocate against any decreases in catch sizes - with catchy names like the Fisherfolk for Sound Science, and Friends of Fish. They then hire people who own an Excel spreadsheet program do "science" for them - and why not? They live after all in a free society.

After spending much energy and money on trying to undermine the science - with claims that the pond is much deeper than it looks, that the fish are just hiding, that the records of fish catches were contaminated by being done near a supermarket - the continued declining stocks and smaller and smaller fish make it harder and harder to sound convincing. So, in a switch of tactics so fast it would impress Najinsky, the manufacturers lobby suddenly decides to accept all that science and declares that the 'fish are hiding' crowd are just fringe elements. No, they said, we want to help with this transition, but …. we need to be sure that the plans will make sense. So they ask their spreadsheet-wielding "advocacy scientists" to calculate exactly what would happen if the top 5 (and only the top 5) did cut their catches by 80%, but meanwhile everyone else kept increasing their catch at the current (unsustainable rate). Well, the answers were shocking - the total catch would be initially still be 84% of what it is now and would soon catch up with current levels. In fact, the exact same techniques that were used to project the fishery collapse imply that this would only delay the collapse by a few years! and what would be the point of that?

The fact that the other top fishermen are discussing very similar cuts and that the fisherfolk council was trying to coordinate these actions to minimise the problems that might emerge, are of course ignored and the cry goes out that nothing can be done. In reality of course, the correct lesson to draw is that everything must be done.

In case you think that no-one would be so stupid as to think this kind of analysis has any validity, I would ask that you look up the history of the Newfoundland cod fishery. It is indeed a tragedy.

And the connection to climate? Here.

I'll finish with a quotation attributed to Edmund Burke, one the founders of the original conservative movement:

"Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little."
See here for a much better picture of what coordinated action could achieve.

The Collapse of the Resource BaseThe History of the Northern Cod Fishery, by Industry Canada, 1996 or so.

Groundfish, especially cod, is the foundation of the Atlantic fishery. Europeans settled in what is now Atlantic Canada because of the abundant cod and other groundfish, which afforded them simultaneously an assured food supply and a profitable export. Other species came to be significant, but groundfish, until very recently, still accounted for two-thirds of the tonnage of the total Atlantic catch, nearly half the landed value, and almost two-thirds of the jobs.

In the early 1980's, Canadian catches of Atlantic groundfish peaked at 775,000 tonnes, gradually declining to 688,000 tonnes by 1988. This decline then continued rapidly, dropping to 418,000 tonnes in 1992, and to what likely will be about 250,000 tonnes in 1993. The 10 principal cod and flatfish stocks went from 500,000 tonnes in 1988 to what will probably be considerably less than 100,000 tonnes in 1993 and a potential catch - at best - of 50,000 tonnes in 1994. This means a decline in catch of 90 percent in five years.

What does this mean for people? On average, 1,000 tonnes of groundfish generate 30 full-time jobs in a year. However, given seasonality and other factors such as the number of plants, those thousand tonnes in fact provide employment for about 75 people in any given year. In communities that are highly dependent on groundfish - and there are communities where the fishery supplies directly more than 90 percent of jobs - collapse of the resource means ruin.

However, it is important to note that groundfish as a proportion of the total catch varies greatly from region to region. In Nova Scotia, which has the most diversified fishery, groundfish represents about 50 to 60 percent of the catch in a normal year. In Newfoundland, under normal conditions, it would be about 80 percent for the province, although in some parts, it is effectively 100 percent. In the other Atlantic provinces, where the fishery is more diverse and relies more on shellfish and aquaculture, groundfish makes up about 30 percent of the catch during an average year. Consequently, the impact of groundfish reductions in terms of fish production and employment loss varies greatly among provinces and regions.

Canada's Atlantic fishery is extensive and diverse, from the Gulf of St. Lawrence out to the 200-mile economic limit and from Davis Strait to the Bay of Fundy. Within this vast area are many species yielding, in average years, an annual harvest of about 1.2 million tonnes, with a landed value of about $1 billion and a production value of about $2 billion. Within these fisheries, groundfish traditionally have accounted for about two-thirds of the landed volume and about 40 percent of the landed value.

Given the greatly reduced groundfish quotas, fisheries closures and poor catch performance to date, the projected 1993 groundfish catch will be no more than 250,000 tonnes. Compared with 1982, this means that the groundfish base of the Atlantic Canada fishery will have shrunk by more than 500,000 tonnes. This is equivalent to some 15,000 full-time, year round jobs in harvesting and processing, which normally would mean employment for some 35,000 people. While the impact of this massive collapse affects almost all of the Atlantic fishery, it falls heavily on Nova Scotia, and more particularly, on Newfoundland.

In 1993, the groundfish resource collapse is spreading. In the Maritime provinces, there are closures or quota cuts in many fisheries. Most of the Atlantic industry is made up of people working in small boats and small plants, and living in small and often very isolated communities. About a thousand such communities depend in whole or in large part upon the fishery for jobs in plants, boat building, equipment supplying, transport provisioning, and general support services. The groundfish resource failure means a total or at least major economic collapse for hundreds of communities in Atlantic Canada.

The resource base of the Newfoundland fishery - namely, cod stocks adjacent to Newfoundland, and cod and flatfish stocks on the southern Grand Banks - has virtually collapsed. In four years, the catches of these stocks went from close to 400,000 tonnes in 1988 down to less than some 75 percent. The projected total 1993 catch from these stocks is about 50,000 tonnes or one-eighth of what is was only five years prior. Other areas also have experienced substantial declines in groundfish catches on which fishermen and processors rely. Catches of cod stocks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence have dropped significantly, as have catches of cod and haddock on the Scotian Shelf.

The outlook for the Atlantic fishery is bleak. Current scientific projections for cod and flatfish stocks are extremely negative. The prospect for northern cod actually has worsened since the moratorium on commercial fishing was established in July 1992, suggesting that a closure will have to be maintained for years to come. The other prime groundfish stocks - cod stocks adjacent to the rest of Newfoundland, and cod and flatfish on the southern Grand Banks, in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence and on the Scotian Shelf - are also deteriorating rapidly. Total allowable catches in fisheries that remain open in 1994 will likely be considerably lower than in 1993. The spawning biomass of most of these stocks is at a historically low level. In the case of northern cod, there are no indications of any recovery before the end of the 1990's.

What has caused or contributed to this unprecedented and widespread resource collapse? There is no definitive evidence, but there are a number of factors which, in varying degrees and combinations, have had a role in this decline. Among the more important are:
- overly high Total Allowable Catch (TAC) levels for many stocks, set too high because of overoptimistic scientific projections, inadequate understanding of stock dynamics and inaccurate data on commercial fishing activity;
- under-reporting of actual catches, which caused harvesting overruns, and misleading data for management and scientific assessments;
destructive fishing practises such as highgrading, discarding and dumping of immature fish or non-target species;
- foreign overfishing of straddling stocks on the Nose and Tail of the Grand Banks; failure to control expansion of fishing effort, which in part has been in response to the demands of a processing sector plagued by overcapacity, and failure to minimize the possible adverse impact of various fishing gear technologies; and,
- unforseen and possibly long-lasting ecological changes, including cooling water temperatures since the mid-1980's, changes in water salinity, and shifting predator-prey relationships, particularly among seals, capelin and cod, which have affected adversely the growth, abundance and distribution of various species.
The overall effect of these factors is that 90 percent of the Newfoundland groundfish base has been wiped out and will not recover for years. The impact on the people, communities and economy of that province will be staggering. The northeast coast of Newfoundland was devastated by the 1992 northern cod moratorium which meant the loss of employment and income for some 12,000 fishermen and 15,000 plant workers. With the resource supplies almost non-existent, many groundfish plants have closed. For many, the prospects for reopening in the foreseeable future are very bleak. Among these plants are many small fish plants. However, there are also some very major inshore operations that are affected and that have had a long history in the cod fishery, including St. Anthony, La Scie, Twillingate, Valleyfield, Carbonear, Old Perlican and Fogo Island.

The northern cod moratorium has been devastating for plant workers, fishermen and crew members. Government programs help address their short term problems. However, in the long term, the reality is that perhaps half of these individuals will never work in the fishery again. Fishermen who own vessels and gear, and processors who own plants and equipment are just as devastated. Many operations are family-owned businesses with long attachment in the fishery going back decades. They have come through previous industry crises, but now find themselves without the weaponry to withstand this latest, greatest onslaught. They prepared themselves for the 1992 fishing season, expended resources in good faith, were assured that it would proceed, and today find themselves with assets that are close to worthless, if they have any value at all.

The case of Fishery Products International (FPI), Canada's largest fishing company and the predominant operator in Newfoundland's offshore fishery also illustrates the devastating impact of the resource collapse. Its source of supply has been overwhelmingly reduced and, in the case of cod, has almost been wiped out. In four years, the company's total groundfish catch dropped from 139,000 tonnes in 1988 to 56,000 tonnes in 1992. The catch of cod alone has decreased from 85,000 tonnes in 1988 to 17,000 tonnes in 1992 - a drop of 80 percent in the catch of its most valuable species. For 1993, FPI's total groundfish catch is estimated at 37,000 tonnes. In 1994, its catch may reach no more than 25,000 tonnes - most of which will be groundfish of lesser value, such as redfish, rather than cod.

All of this has dramatic consequences for the people and communities in Atlantic Canada whose livelihood depends on FPI. In 1986 and 1987, FPI operated eight trawler-based offshore plants - seven of them on Newfoundland's south coast - as well as seven inshore plants, three secondary processing plants, a scallop operation and a fleet of nearly 70 trawlers. The company employed some 8,200 people - 7,200 plant workers and managers, and 1,000 trawlermen. FPI also bought fish for processing from about 2,500 inshore fishermen from across Newfoundland. In all, FPI provided income to some 12,000 people.

Similar is the situation of Atlantic Canada's other major fishery employer, National Sea Products (NSP). NSP has seen its groundfish catch go from nearly 122,000 tonnes in 1988 to just more than 51,000 tonnes in 1992 - a decline of 58 percent. Its cod catch since 1988 is down even further at 67 percent. Its total 1993 catch is projected at 24,000 tonnes - a drop of 53 percent in a single year. In 1988, NSP provided employment for nearly 6,000 people, almost all of them full time. In 1994, the company's payroll was down to about 3,500 workers, almost 40 percent of them part time. In 1988, it had 32 active trawlers and nine plants.

Bleakest is the outlook for Newfoundland's south coast, which has been the traditional base for offshore fishing for more than a century. It has the highest dependence on the fishery, and the highest reliance on groundfish - especially cod - in Atlantic Canada. In the mid-1980's, groundfish accounted for 94 percent of the value of fish production on the south coast - the highest dependence in Atlantic Canada.

Now, its people have nowhere else to turn. Farming does not exist. Mining has long since been played out, with only the most nominal activity still going, and forestry barely exists. Yet, Newfoundland's south coast has a proud tradition in the fishery. Since it is not ice-bound for part of the year, it suits offshore fishing, rising to prominence in the 1860's with the development of the famous Banker fleet of 100-foot vessels fishing for cod on the Grand Banks.

The fishing centres of Burgeo, Ramea, Gaultois, Harbour Breton, Grand Bank, Fortune, Burin, Marystown, Trepassey, including all the way around to Catalina on the northeast coast, are historic communities going back to the 18th Century and before. Their way of life is now under the most severe pressure. The list goes on. It includes Lockeport, Louisbourg, Petit de Grat, Lameque, Newport and La Tabatiere in other parts of Atlantic Canada.

These communities were created because of work in the fishery. Now, there is no fishery. Many are relatively isolated, especially those in Newfoundland, often with no more than 2,000 to 3,000 residents, many of them resettled there from even smaller outports a generation ago. Often, they are single industry communities. Where this is so, the fishery provides 70 percent or more of the direct employment, and almost all of the real employment, because the other sectors - educational, social services, retail and wholesale trade - would not be there without the fishing community.

In these areas, the fishing community exists very often chiefly because of groundfish. South coast Newfoundland communities get their fish from the offshore and process groundfish almost exclusively. Until the mid 1980's, these were year-round operations, providing 40 to 50 weeks of employment a year and the best wage rates in the industry. Now, these plants are mostly closed, and the boats tied up. Collapse of the groundfish stocks means that a whole society, a whole region, are at stake.

Looking beyond the impact in human terms and focusing on markets, Canada's resource crisis is going virtually unnoticed. In our traditional stronghold, the United States, Atlantic cod reigned supreme among groundfish and Canada supplied more than half of all cod. Yet demand and hence prices, have dropped notwithstanding the collapse of Canada's Atlantic groundfish fishery.

Several factors account for this:

- Demand for seafood in the U.S. is declining, led by a reduction in groundfish consumption;
- At least in part, this is because during the past 10 years, prices for traditional sources of competing protein (chicken, pork and beef) have declined relative to seafood;
- As well, supply of low-cost substitute "wild" groundfish species - including Alaskan pollock, New Zealand hoki and South American hake - has increased dramatically, especially to serve the volume driven, commodity seafood market;
- In addition, aquaculture is making major progress in whitefish markets, with catfish sales now equal to cod sales and sales of tilapia increasing as fast as sales of catfish in the U.S. market; and,
- Cod production by Norway and Russia from the Barents Sea has recovered substantially, largely displacing the decline in the Northwest Atlantic stocks in our traditional European and American markets.
Against this competitive backdrop, it is evident that Canada's groundfish sector will require a market recovery as well as a resource recovery.

In a few years, the stocks may regenerate and the fishery will be revived. Will the people be there to work it? How will they adjust in the meantime? How will they ensure that the special knowledge and skills of the fishery will be passed on? How will they survive in the interim?

A Run on the Banks,, 2003 or so.

How "Factory Fishing" Decimated Newfoundland Cod

Five hundred years ago, the explorer John Cabot returned from the waters around what is now Newfoundland and reported that codfish ran so thick you could catch them by hanging wicker baskets over a ship's side.

Cabot had discovered a resource that would change England forever, the basis of a maritime trade that would give that tiny island kingdom the wealth, skills and shipbuilding capacity which would transform it into a global empire. He had discovered the most fantastic fishing grounds the world had ever seen, waters so teeming with life that a vast swath of the New World was colonized just to harvest its seemingly limitless bounty.

A century after Cabot, English fishing skippers still reported cod shoals "so thick by the shore that we hardly have been able to row a boat through them." There were six- and seven-foot-long codfish weighing as much as 200 pounds. There were great banks of oysters as large as shoes. At low tide, children were sent to the shore to collect 10-, 15-, even 20-pound lobsters with hand rakes for use as bait or pig feed. Eight- to 12-foot sturgeon choked New England rivers, and salmon packed streams from the Hudson River to Hudson's Bay. Herring, squid and capelin (a small open-water fish seven inches long) spawning runs were so gigantic they astonished observers for more than four centuries. Today, Newfoundland's fish are gone and the seas, streams and rivers lie quiet and empty.

An Isolated Treasure House

Of Canada's 10 provinces, the combined territory of Newfoundland and Labrador is the least accessible. Most of its half million people live on the great, barren island of Newfoundland--a landmass of 39,500 square miles, about the size of Virginia, consisting of rocky shores, barren heaths and rolling hills of stunted pine. In winter the island is buffeted by arctic winds, and in early summer the north coast is battered by icebergs floating down from Greenland. (Labrador, the province's mainland component, is three times the size of the island but has only a few thousand residents; this stretch of exposed rock and tundra is simply too far north, too cold, barren and remote to support a large population.) Even in summer, a trip from Boston to St. John's, the capital city, entails 16 hours of driving and 14 hours on the ferry.

Like so much of Newfoundland, the Burin peninsula was founded on fishing. There's evidence that Basque fishermen used the peninsula as a summer fishing base during the early 1500s. French fishermen may have been living there as early as the 1640s, though most up and left in the early 18th century when the area was ceded to England. During the heyday of the Grand Banks schooner fishery, Burin towns were thriving and enormous Victorian mansions were erected in the town of Grand Bank.

In the mechanized, industrial-scale, deep-sea trawler era, the peninsula was at the heart of the fish-processing business, with year-round seafood plants in Fortune, Marystown, St. Lawrence, Grand Bank and Burin proper, and seasonal ones in three smaller hamlets. Most of the 29,000 people on the peninsula either fished or worked in the plants, for companies that supplied the plants, or for the shipyard that built the offshore trawlers that fed the hungry assembly lines with massive quantities of ocean fish. The Burin plant provided a great many of the fish patties used in McDonald's 'fillet-o-fish' sandwiches. It still does, but the fish it uses is imported from Europe.

That's because the impossible has happened. The last great schools of northern cod were scooped up in colossal trawler nets and the government has closed the world's greatest fishery for lack of fish--a ridiculous example of closing the barn door after the horse has escaped. In 1996, the Burin Peninsula recorded the highest unemployment rate in Canada for several months in a row. An estimated 30 percent of the workforce was jobless. "Fishin's all there was," said an area fisherman. "Everybody got too greedy for them fish, 'en then there wasn't anything a'tall."

The Pursuit of Cod

Until 1949, Newfoundland was a British colony and to this day it feels like a far-flung outpost of Northern Europe. For much of its history Newfoundland was linked to England and Ireland through family ties, commerce, political life and trade. With the development of freezer technology on the eve of World War II, the United States became a major market for Newfoundland cod, but there was little contact--commercial or otherwise--with Canada. It's no accident that St. John's is located on the island's easternmost extreme, nestled between mountains on a harbor opening toward Britain, somewhere out beyond the perpetual wall of fog. From St. John's, London is closer than Calgary, and Ireland nearer than Winnipeg.

The settlement of Newfoundland, indeed of much of North America, was a byproduct of the pursuit of cod. Properly dried and salted codfish would keep for long periods, an important consideration before refrigeration. It was relatively light and easy to transport. From the advent of the New World fisheries in the early 14th century, there was an insatiable, ready market for saltcod in Europe. It was a far cheaper protein source than beef, pork, or lamb, and the only acceptable source of animal protein for Catholics 166 days of every year. Profitable, transportable and easily marketable, cod would rival South American gold and Caribbean sugar in the New World resource-extraction free-for-all.

The story of the cod's destruction, however, begins where Newfoundland's colonial era ends. For the first four centuries after Cabot, Newfoundlanders had little trouble actually finding and catching cod. There were seemingly endless numbers of them. These large, hardy, generic-looking fish are built to last: Adaptable, omnivorous and incredibly fecund (a large female will produce nine million eggs in a single spawning). Atlantic cod survived in their current form for ten million years, through ice ages and warming spells that changed world sea-levels by some 300 feet. They live 20 years or more, ensuring a diverse breeding stock. Particularly cold spawning seasons would select cold-resistant eggs, warm seasons would bring the opposite, and with so many generations present at any one time, the cod has been able to adapt to almost everything. Everything, that is, except industrialized fishing.

A Dream Species

Cod are part of a family known as "groundfish," so called because they generally live on or near the ocean bottom along the continental shelf. The Northwest Atlantic's other groundfish include haddock, halibut, pollock, flounder and plaice. All these species have been intensively fished and many have shared the sad fate of their cousin, the cod. But the Atlantic cod was by far the most numerous, valuable and important.

Atlantic cod not only school, they live in distinct breeding stocks or populations. Each moves as a vast herd from spawning to feeding grounds and rarely associates with other camps. The "northern" cod dwell off the icy coasts of Labrador and northeastern Newfoundland. Another population spawns on the nutrient-rich Grand Banks, a vast series of underwater hills sunk in shallow water off the Newfoundland coast. There are distinct stocks in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, which separates the island from Quebec and Labrador, and on the smaller St. Pierre Banks near Burin; another masses along Nova Scotia's Atlantic coast, and still more on Georges Bank off New England. These latter stocks live in somewhat warmer water and are markedly larger and faster growing than their compatriots in ice-choked Labrador. Other Atlantic Cod stocks populate the European and Icelandic coasts.

Fishermen benefited from the cod's tendency to congregate in great numbers. When spawning, cod gather in dense clumps of hundreds of millions of fish. Northern and Grand Banks fish spawned on respective portions of the offshore banks, sowing the ocean currents with trillions of eggs. This made it possible for men to catch them in vast numbers with handlines and, in recent decades, to scoop up entire stocks with enormous nets hauled by trawlers the size of a small ocean liner. For many centuries, though, it was the cod's next move that put food on the table. After spawning, the vast schools would spread into sheets and head inshore, beating the ocean for prey. They would eventually find it: even vaster schools of capelin. For reasons still unknown, some of these capelin schools spawn on the offshore banks like the cod, which gorge on them shortly after their orgies are completed.

Cod are greedy, however, and will eat almost anything they can fit into their gaping mouths. In nature this made them versatile, willing to eat whatever is available: whole mussels, crabs, lobsters, squid, even juvenile cod. It also made baiting them very easy: They can reportedly be landed with an unadorned lump of lead, pieces of hot dog, even Styrofoam cups. Once hooked they put up no fight at all; they just hang there as they're pulled into the boat.

Strip Mining the Seas

In 1951, a strange ship flying the British flag arrived on the Grand Banks. It was enormous: 280 feet long and 2,600 gross tons, four times the size of a large side trawler. It's superstructure, tall funnels and numerous portholes, suggested an ocean-going passenger liner, but its aft deck confirmed it to be a fishing vessel. Gantry masts supported cables, winches, and gear the scale of which nobody had seen before. Its stern was marred by a gigantic chute, a ramp from sea to deck such as whaling ships use to drag aboard the 190-ton carcasses of blue whales. But the ramp was meant not for whales but for equally large nets filled with cod and whatever else happened to be in the water.

The Fairtry's arrival marked the beginning of the end for the Atlantic cod fishery, indeed for many of the world's fisheries. She was the world's first factory-freezer trawler, a multi-million-dollar vessel equipped with all the technological breakthroughs of the war. Below deck was an on-board processing plant with automated filleting machines, a fish meal rendering factory and an enormous bank of freezers. She could fish around the clock, seven days a week, for weeks on end, hauling up nets during fierce winter gales that could easily swallow the Statue of Liberty. With radar, sonar, fish-finders and echograms she could pinpoint and capture whole schools of fish with chilling effectiveness.

The ships grew bigger. They eventually reached 8,000 tons, towing nets with openings 3,500-feet in circumference. In an hour they can haul up as much as 200 tons of fish, twice as much as a typical 16th century ship would have caught in an entire season. Re-crewed and supplied by ocean-going tenders, the ships could pursue fish anywhere in the world for months on end without ever visiting a port or even sighting land. Plying international waters, they were outside the jurisdiction of the nations off which they fished. By the 1970s the Soviet Union had 400 factory trawlers on the high seas. Japan had 125, Spain, 75, West Germany, 50, France and Britain, 40, and dozens more were operated by East Bloc nations. They plied the Georges Banks of New England, the hake stocks of South Africa, Alaskan and Baring Sea Pollock, Antarctic krill and, most of all, the northern cod off Newfoundland and Labrador. They were strip-mining the sea.

End Game

In 1968, the cod catch peaked at 810,000 tons, almost three times more than had been caught in any year prior to the Fairtry's arrival. Then, despite increased effort, larger nets, more accurate fish finders and larger on-board processing plants, total cod landings fell.

Two Canadian fisheries scientists, Jeffrey Hutchings and Ransom Myers, have calculated that about eight million tons of northern cod were caught between Cabot's arrival in 1647 and 1750, a period encompassing 25 to 40 cod generations. The factory trawlers matched that take in only 15 years--well within a single cod lifetime. The trawlers were scooping up fish many times faster than the ecosystem could replenish them. Not just cod but other groundfish, including flounder, halibut and haddock, were decimated.

In 1977 Canada followed Iceland in unilaterally extending its territorial waters from 12 to 200 miles offshore. Foreign factory trawlers were kicked off the Banks except for a small portion called "the Tail" that lies beyond 200 miles. But by this time the groundfish stocks were so depleted that many factory trawlers had already moved on to strip-mine elsewhere.

Still, the decision was greeted with euphoria in Atlantic Canada. Finally the Banks would be used for the benefit of Canadians. But in a remarkable display of shortsightedness, Canada proceeded to build a deep-sea trawler fleet of its own. Foreign fishing had shattered the ecology of the Northwest Atlantic fisheries. The Canadian government proceeded to finish off the survivors.

The expansion of the domestic industry created an economic imperative that more fish be caught. "Under-utilized" fish stocks had to be captured to keep processing plants busy. So while the new fleet was under construction, joint ventures were set up with foreign factory trawlers to capture fish on the banks; the trawlers would land part of their catch at Newfoundland fish plants and keep the rest to land at home. The collapse of the Banks was right around the corner.

Then They Were Gone

Donald Paul is a self-employed inshore fisherman who's been working the waters off Burin since 1974. He owns his own small boat and works the near-coastal waters around Placentia Bay, landing fish ashore at the end of the day. He's lucky to still be fishing.

"Back when I started there were plenty of fish," Paul says. "I'd say the first year I noticed something was 1978," Paul says. "In normal years we'd get 200,000 pounds of cod, but that year it was more like 70,000 pounds. Then all of a sudden they just crashed."

The shock came in 1988. New modeling techniques and the latest stock survey revealed that many groundfish stocks were on the edge of collapse. The northern cod stock--by far the largest and most important--was in the worst shape of all. Fisheries scientists concluded that quotas had to be more than halved in order to prevent this stock's collapse. Politicians were appalled; the proposed quotas would have caused economic chaos throughout Eastern Canada. So the politicians compromised what could not be compromised. Quotas were cut by only 10 percent.

More frightening data poured in confirming the stock was in serious trouble, that fishermen had been capturing as much as 60 percent of the adult cod every year for several years running. Plants closed and 2,000 people were out of work. Canada released $584 million in emergency assistance. Fishermen tried as hard as they could, but could only catch 122,000 of the 190,000-ton cod quota for 1991. The stock was in free fall.

When the 1992 fish surveys were released, politicians finally realized that regardless of what quotas they set, nature had spoken: there would be no fish to feed the plants and working families of Atlantic Canada. The estimated combined weight of the adult cod population was a mere 1.1 percent of its historic levels of the early 1960s. In 1992 the government finally closed the Banks altogether to allow the stock to recover. But by then it was far too late.

Too Little, Too Late

Even if left alone, the northern cod may never recover. Industrial technology and human greed may have so decimated these hardy fish that they can no longer hold onto their ecological niche. The crash could be irreversible.

"They might never come back, at least not in their former abundance," says Richard Haedrich, a fisheries scientist at Memorial University. "Once you start changing the whole ecosystem, the community structures and sizes, you've got a whole new ball game."

There is growing evidence that the trawlers may not only have scooped up all the fish but also laid to waste the entire seafloor environment those fish required to survive. In the late 1990s marine scientists began assembling evidence that modern fishing gear causes massive physical and ecological disturbances. The continental shelf--where most ecological and, thus, fishing activity takes place--is not a featureless plain of mud. Rocky outcroppings, boulders, cobbles and pebbles provide "structure" on and around which living communities can thrive. Here, juvenile cod and other fish can hide from predators and find small crustaceans, crabs and other creatures to eat.

Modern bottom trawls destroy these structures like gigantic plows. Dragging the bottom for cod or flounder, nets are spread open by a pair of metal "doors" or "boards" weighing tens to thousands of pounds. The bottom of the trawl mouth is a thick cable bearing the weight of 50- to 700-pound steel weights that keep the trawl on the seabed. Many drag tickler chains to scare shrimp or fish off the bottom and into the net. Scallop, oyster and crab dredges consist of steel frames and chain-mesh bags that plow through the seabed to sift out target species. With each pass, trawls and dredges overturn, scrape or sweep away boulders and cobbles, crush or ensnare bottom plants and structure-building animals, and kill or disrupt worms and other animals in the sediment. Most species take months or years to reestablish themselves, some take decades or centuries. None are given that much time.

In a 1998 paper, Les Watling of the University of Maine and Elliot Norse of the Marine Conservation Biology Institute likened trawling's effect on the seabed to that of forest clear-cutting, except that it occurs over an area of the Earth's surface that is 150 times greater. The factory trawlers may have destroyed so much juvenile cod habitat that the Banks are no longer capable of nursing large numbers of the fish. Recovery would require decades without trawling.

These disruptions have allowed opportunistic creatures to move in. In some areas small skates and dogfish (a small shark species) appear to have taken over the cod's niche in the ecosystem. Scavengers like the snow crab and American lobster underwent incredible population explosions as the cod stocks collapsed. Large cod once ate these crustaceans, but now there aren't any cod large enough. There's some evidence that the current crab and lobster fishing booms were also fueled by huge quantities of dead animals falling to the seafloor after being dumped as by-catch from trawlers.

It's not certain that Canada has learned from its mistakes with the cod. The fishery has simply turned to alternative species further down the food chain and, in at least some instances, may be pushing their populations towards collapse. After several years of intensive fishing, total landings of "under-utilized" fish like herring, eel and skates dropped significantly in both Newfoundland and Atlantic Canada as a whole. Thousands of tons of lumpfish are harvested for their roe and urchins for their gonads--both products prized on the Asian market.

Meanwhile the keystone species of the entire ecosystem-­the humble capelin­-has again become the target of a sizeable fishery. Throughout the last decade, Newfoundland fishermen were unable to catch enough of the tiny fish to fill their quotas. Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans maintain that the stocks are healthy; rural residents across the province think the government's models will once again be proven wrong.

* * *

Jack May, the keeper of Twillingate Lighthouse, a few miles west of Newfoundland's Fogo Island, and a poet who regularly reads his historical work on the Canadian Broadcasting Company's provincial morning show, isn't optimistic about the cod returning. "We don't seem to be able to see the big picture," he says. "We see a few extra shrimp in the system and we go like hell after them and grab them all up and say, 'Hey, we made a lot of money on that! Here's a fishery worth billions!' But it's only going to stay that way if we look at it 10 years down the road and see what Mother Nature's ground rules are for what we can take. We don't set the rules, we can only try to work within them."

Climate Impacts of Waxman-Markey (the IPCC-based arithmetic of no gain), Chip Knappenberger, May 6, 2009.

Editor Note: Using mainstream models and assumptions, Mr. Knappenberger finds that in the year 2050 with a 83% emissions reduction (the aspirational goal of Waxman-Markey, the beginning steps of which are under vigorous debate), the temperature reduction is nine hundredths of one degree Fahrenheit, or two years of avoided warming. A more realistic climate bill would be a fraction of this amount. The author will respond to technical questions on methodology and results and invites input on alternative scenarios and analyses.

“A full implementation and adherence to the long-run emissions restrictions provisions described by the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill would result only in setting back the projected rise in global temperatures by a few years—a scientifically meaningless prospect.” (from below)

The economics and the regulatory burdens of climate change bills are forever being analyzed, but the bills’ primary function—mitigating future climate change—is generally ignored.

Perhaps that’s because it is simply assumed.

After all, we are barraged daily with the horrors of what the climate will become if we don’t stop emitting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (the primary focus being on emissions from the combustion of fossil fuels). So doing something as drastic as that proposed by Waxman-Markey—a more than 80% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions from the United States by the year 2050—must surely lessen the chances of climate catastrophe. Mustn’t it?

But if that were the case, why aren’t the climate impacts being touted? Why aren’t Representatives Waxman and Markey waving around the projected climate success of their bill? Why aren’t they saying: “Economics and regulations be damned. Look how our bill is going to save the earth from human-caused climate apocalypse”?

That reason is that it won’t.

And they know it. That is why they, and everyone else who supports such measures, are mum about the outcome.

The one thing, above all others, that they don’t want you to know is this: No matter how the economic and regulatory issues shake out, the bill will have virtually no impact on the future course of the earth’s climate. And this is even in its current “pure” form, without the inevitable watering down to come.

So discussion of the bill, instead of focusing on climate impacts, is shrouded in economics and climate alarm.

Getting a good handle on the future climate impact of the proposed Waxman-Markey legislation is not that difficult. In fact, there are several ways to get at it. But perhaps the most versatile is the aptly named MAGICC: Model for the Assessment of Greenhouse-gas Induced Climate Change. MAGICC is sort of a climate model simulator that you can run from your desktop (available here). It was developed by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (primarily by Dr. Tom Wigley) under funding by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other organizations. MAGICC is itself a collection of simple gas-cycle, climate, and ice-melt models that is designed to produce an output that emulates the output one gets from much more complex climate models. MAGICC can produce in seconds, on your own computer, results that complex climate models take weeks to produce running on the world’s fastest supercomputers. Of course, MAGICC doesn’t provide the same level of detail, but it does produce projections for the things that we most often hear about and care about—for instance, the global average temperature change.

Moreover, MAGICC was developed to be used for exactly the purpose that we use it here—the purpose for which Representatives Waxman and Markey and everybody else who wants a say in this issue should be using it. That purpose is, according to MAGICC’s website, “to compare the global-mean temperature and sea level implications of two different emissions scenarios” —for example, scenarios both with and without the proposed legislative emissions reductions.

So that is what we’ll do. We’ll first use MAGICC to produce a projection of global average temperature change through the 21st century under two of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s future emissions scenarios (which assume no explicit policy implementation). The two are: a mid-range emissions scenario (SRES A1B for those interested in the details) and a high-end emissions scenario (SRES A1FI). Then, we’ll modify these IPCC scenarios by entering in the emissions reductions that will occur if the provisions outlined in the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill are fully met (leaving aside whether or not that could be done). Basically, Waxman-Markey calls for U.S. emissions to be reduced to 20% below the 2005 emissions level by 2020, 42% below 2005 levels by 2030, and 83% below 2005 levels by 2050. We’ll assume that U.S. emissions remain constant at that reduced value for the rest of the century. We’ll then use MAGICC to produce temperature projections using these modified scenarios and compare them with the original projections.*

And here is what we get all rolled into one simple figure.

Waxman-Markey analysis, figure by Chip Knappenberger

The solid lines are the projections of the change in global average temperature across the 21st century from the original IPCC A1FI (red) and A1B (blue) high and mid-range emissions scenarios, respectively (assuming a climate sensitivity of 3ºC). The dotted lines (of the same color) indicate the projected change in global average surface temperature when the emissions reductions prescribed by Waxman-Markey are factored in.

By the year 2050, the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill would result in a global temperature “savings” of about 0.05ºC regardless of the IPCC scenario used—this is equivalent to about 2 years’ worth of warming. By the year 2100, the emissions pathways become clearly distinguishable, and so to do the impacts of Waxman-Markey. Assuming the IPCC mid-range scenario (A1B) Waxman-Markey would result in a projected temperature rise of 2.847ºC, instead of 2.959ºC rise— a mere 0.112ºC temperature “savings.” Under the IPCC’s high-emissions scenario, instead of a projected rise of 4.414ºC, Waxman-Markey limits the rise to 4.219ºC—a “savings” of 0.195ºC. In either case, this works out to about 5 years’ worth of warming. In other words, a full implementation and adherence to the emissions restrictions provisions described by the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill would result only in setting back the projected rise in global temperatures by a few years—a scientifically meaningless prospect. (Note: I present the results to three significant digits, not that they are that precise when it comes to the real world, but just so that you can tell the results apart).

Now, various aspects of the MAGICC model parameters can be tweaked, different climate models can be emulated, and different scenarios can by chosen. And different answers will be obtained. That is the whole purpose of MAGICC—to be able to examine the sensitivity of the output to these types of changes. But if you take the time to download MAGICC yourself and run your own experiments, one thing that you will soon find out is: No matter what you try, altering only U.S. emissions will produce unsatisfying results if you seek to save the world by altering its climate.

We have calculated only the climate impact of the United States acting alone. There is no successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol to bind other countries to greenhouse gas emissions reductions. But, truth be told, the only countries of any real concern are China and India. The total increase in China’s emissions since the year 2000 is 50 percent greater than the total increase from rest of the world combined and is growing by leaps and bounds. And consider that India carbon dioxide emissions haven’t started to dramatically increase yet. But it is poised to do so, and an Indian official recently stated that “It is morally wrong for us to agree to reduce [carbon dioxide emissions] when 40 percent of Indians do not have access to electricity.”

Without a large reduction in the carbon dioxide emissions from both China and India—not just a commitment but an actual reduction—there will be nothing climatologically gained from any restrictions on U.S. emissions, regardless whether they come about from the Waxman-Markey bill (or other cap-and-trade proposals), from a direct carbon tax, or through some EPA regulations.

This is something that should be common knowledge. But it is kept carefully guarded.

The bottom line is that a reduction of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions of greater than 80%, as envisioned in the Waxman-Markey climate bill will only produce a global temperature “savings” during the next 50 years of about 0.05ºC. Calculating this isn’t all that difficult or costly. All it takes is a little MAGICC.

[Note: Be sure not to miss Part II of this analysis, where I take a look at what happens if the rest of the world were to play along.]

* Assumptions Used in Running MAGICC

There are many parameters that can be altered when running MAGICC, including the climate sensitivity (how much warming the model produces from a doubling of CO2 concentration) and the size of the effect produced by aerosols. In all cases, we’ve chosen to use the MAGICC default settings, which represent the middle-of-the-road estimates for these parameter values.

Also, we’ve had to make some assumptions about the U.S. emissions pathways as prescribed by the original IPCC scenarios in order to obtain the baseline U.S. emissions (unique to each scenario) to which we could apply the Waxman-Markey emissions reduction schedule. The most common IPCC definition of its scenarios describes the future emissions, not from individual countries, but from country groupings. Therefore, we needed to back out the U.S. emissions. To do so, we identified which country group the U.S. belonged to (the OECD90 group) and then determined the current percentage of the total group emissions that are being contributed by the United States—which turned out to by ~50%. We then assumed that this percentage was constant over time. In other words, that the U.S. contributed 50% of the OECD90 emissions in 2000 as well as in every year between 2000 and 2100. Thus, we were able to develop the future emissions pathway of the U.S. from the group pathway defined by the IPCC for each scenario (in this case, the A1B and the A1FI scenarios). The Waxman-Markey reductions were then applied to the projected U.S. emissions pathways, and the new U.S. emissions were then recombined into the OECD90 pathway and into the global emissions total over time. It is the total global emissions that are entered into MAGICC in order to produce global temperature projections—both the original emissions, as well as the emissions modified to account for the U.S. emissions under Waxman-Markey.

Climate Impacts of Waxman-Markey (Part II)—Global Sign-Up, Chip Knappenberger, May 7, 2009.

Yesterday’s MasterResource post looked at the potential climate impacts of the proposed Waxman-Markey Climate Bill. But I limited my analysis to only U.S. actions—after all, Waxman-Markey can’t mandate international man-made greenhouse gas reduction timetables. But, what would happen if the rest of the world wanted to join in?

The Bottom Line

The ability of the industrialized world, through emissions reductions alone, to impact the future course of global climate is minimal. If the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan, Europe, and former Soviet countries all limited their emissions of greenhouse gases according to the schedule laid out under Waxman-Markey—a monumental, unexpected development—it would, at most, avoid only a bit more than one-half of a °C of projected global warming (out of 4.5°C—or only about 10%). And this is under worst-case emissions assumptions; middle-of-the-road scenarios and less sensitive climate models produce even less overall impact.

To make any significant in-roads to lowering the rate (and thus final magnitude) of projected global temperature rise, the bulk of the emissions reduction needs to come from other parts of the world, primarily Asia, Africa, South America, and the Middle East. The problem is, is that these governments are not inclined to restrict the energy usage of its citizens—in fact, they either are in the process of, or are soon hoping to, significantly expand the amount of energy available to their (growing) populations—and in the process, subsuming all potential emissions savings from the (current) industrialized world.

If supporters of large greenhouse gas emissions restrictions were really interested in “saving the world,” they would be putting all of their effort into getting China and India to buy into their plan—and then turning to the U.S. up in mop up duty. As it stands now, they are talking to the wrong end of the horse.


Over the first decade of the 21st century, global carbon dioxide emissions have been growing a pretty good clip—in fact, they’ve been growing at a rate which exceeds the projected rate from the most extreme scenario envisioned by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

It is also the scenario which, when fed into the world’s climate models, produces the greatest warming by the end of the century—about 4.5ºC (although the world abounds with observations that suggests that this temperature rise is overblown, but that is the subject of a different analysis).

The question I want to explore here, is, “if we wanted to do something to ameliorate this projected temperature rise, what could we do?” And more specifically, who are “we”?

The proposed Waxman-Markey Climate Bill is aimed to reduce the projected rise in global temperature. This bill calls for a reduction in greenhouse gases from the United States according to the following schedule—a 20% reduction (below the 2005 emissions level) by the year 2020, a 58% reduction by 2030 and a 83% reduction by 2050.

So, let’s take “we” to be Americans bound by the emissions reduction schedule laid out under Waxman-Markey and see what effect that “we” would have on the projected global temperature increase if “we” followed the Waxman-Markey plan. Then, we’ll look at what would happen if “we” were able to get other parts of the world to go along with the plan.

Technical Analysis

The extreme IPCC scenario is the A1FI scenario and is described as a fossil-fuels intensive scenario of a “future world of very rapid economic growth, global population that peaks in mid-century and declines thereafter, and the rapid introduction of new and more efficient technologies” and that the “[m]ajor underlying themes are convergence among regions, capacity building and increased cultural and social interactions, with a substantial reduction in regional differences in per capita income.”

What this all means in terms of the IPCC’s vision of future CO2 emissions is shown in Figure 1.

Waxman-Markey analysis, figure by Chip Knappenberger

Figure 1. Projected carbon dioxide emissions from four country groupings as defined by the IPCC’s A1FI scenario. For a description of the country groupings, see the text. (source: IPCC SRES)

The IPCC breaks the world down into four general classifications —OECD90 (industrialized countries including the U.S., Western Europe, Australia and Japan), REF (countries undergoing economic reform including Eastern Europe, former Soviet Union and Sub-Saharan Africa), ALM ( North Africa, Latin America and the Middle East), and ASIA (Asian countries including China and India).

As can be seen in Figure 1, the emissions from each of the groups increase, with most of the increase in the first half of the century coming from the ASIA. In the last few decades of the second half of the 21st century, the IPCC projects the emissions from the OECD90 countries to quickly ramp upwards, despite slowed growth or even declines among other groups and despite little population growth. This seems like an odd expectation, but I digress…

Now, what I am going to do, through the help of MAGICC (a simple climate model which was developed to emulate the large-scale output of more complex climate models and which was designed to explore the impacts of different emissions scenarios on projected global temperatures), is show you what happens to future global temperature projections if the Waxman-Markey emissions limitation provisions were adopted (and adhered to) by the U.S. And while I’m at it, I’ll take you through the impacts of the adoption by the other regions as well.

Figure 2 is the same as Figure 1, except that I have adjusted the future OECD90 emissions to account for a reduced contribution from the U.S. assuming we stick to the Waxman-Markey emissions schedule.

Waxman-Markey analysis, figure by Chip Knappenberger

Figure 2. Same as Figure 1, except the original OECD90 pathway (dotted pink line) has been modified to account for the U.S. adherence to the Waxman-Markey emissions schedule (solid pink line).

Figure 3 shows what happens to global temperature projections when the MAGICC model is run with the original A1FI emissions pathways (shown in Figure 1) as well as when it is run under the modified A1FI scenario to include U.S. reductions (shown in Figure 2). The net result on the projected future global temperatures of a full adherence to the stipulations of the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill is a temperature “savings” of 0.06ºC by the year 2050, increasing to about 0.20ºC by the end of the century.

Waxman-Markey analysis, figure by Chip Knappenberger

Figure 3. Projected global temperatures under the A1FI scenario (blue) and the A1FI scenario modified for a U.S. adherence to the Waxman-Markey emissions reductions schedule (red).

So, there you have it—going it alone, the U.S. succeeds at only managing to knock off two-tenths of a global temperature rise projected to be nearly 4.5ºC by 2100. Not a whole lot of bang for the buck.

So, clearly we (Americans) need a little, er, a lot of help.

In Figure 4, I depict what happens to the A1FI emissions pathways if every country of the world decided that the plan drawn up by Representatives Waxman and Markey was something that it could not live without and joined in the effort. Most notably, instead of the rapid rises in ASIA emissions that are projected to occur through the half of the 21st century, the emissions there top out by 2010 and decline sharply thereafter—despite a growing population and rapid industrialization—that’ll be a neat trick to pull off!

Waxman-Markey analysis, figure by Chip Knappenberger

Figure 4. Same as Figure 1, except that all groups adhere to the Waxman-Markey emissions reduction schedule. Dotted lines are the original A1FI pathways, solid lines are the modified pathways.

Figure 5 shows the projected global temperatures with the different country groups signing on (i.e. MAGICC run with the modified emissions scenario depicted in Figure 4).

Waxman-Markey analysis, figure by Chip Knappenberger

Figure 5. Projected global temperatures under the A1FI scenario (blue) and the A1FI scenario modified for an adherence to the Waxman-Markey emissions reductions schedule by all countries in the world in succession.

The top curve in Figure 5 (the greatest temperature rise) is projected to occur under the unfettered A1FI scenario. The bottom curve (the least temperature rise) occurs with everyone on-board. The curves in the middle show who contributes what. The U.S. acting alone under Waxman-Markey (as we have seen) reduces the projected global temperature rise by the year 2100 by 0.195ºC, if the rest of the OECD90 countries come along, the reduction increases to 0.402ºC—still less than 10% of the total projected rise. Even with the help of the REF countries, we only get a reduction of 0.602ºC. When the temperature rise really starts to show a decent slowdown is with the cooperation of the ALM countries (a reduction 1.241ºC). And, of course, the biggest impact, nearly as large as everyone else combined, comes from the ASIA countries. If they alone reduce emissions in line with Waxman-Markey suggestions, they will produce a 1.129ºC decline, and when acting along with everyone else they bring the total temperature reduction to 2.37ºC—a rise that is more than 50% smaller than projected under the original A1FI scenario. Nothing to sneeze at.

(Again, let me stress that I am describing the impacts on projected global temperatures. There is growing evidence that actual global temperatures are not evolving the way projections indicate that they should. So, the degree to which these temperature projections described above reflect what really will happen in the future, is far from certain.)


So, the key to producing a meaningful change in the course of projected global temperatures is to make sure that those countries of the world which are projected to have the greatest contributions to future emissions growth—primarily the countries in the ALM and ASIA group—take the actions to insure that those growth projections are not met.

The United States has an extremely limited direct role to play in projected future global climate — internal emissions reductions do virtually nothing. So, plans like the Waxman-Markey Climate Bill really don’t serve to change the climate in and of themselves. Instead, their purpose is to attempt to spur technological innovation and set an example as to what can be done to reduce emissions—with Americans serving both as the experimenters and the guinea pigs. It is not the climate impact of our experiment that is of any significance, but instead it is the tools that we may develop in attempting to achieve major emissions reductions. for the only truly effective course of action we have available to us in attempting to control the future course of global climate is to tell the rest of the world what to do and how to do it.

Let’s hope they are agreeable—for “we” (Americans) are setting ourselves up to take a great risk for which the outcome, both internally and externally, is far from certain.


Two generations ago, to the derision of some who could not accept a new truth, Wendell Willkie responded to worldwide wars and depression by insisting that ours is indeed One World—the symbol of which was an old-fashioned globe on a stand.

Nuclear weapons soon showed how dangerous that one world had become. The symbol for that perception was a mushroom-shaped cloud.

A generation ago, Stewart Brand, later best known for the Whole Earth Catalogue and his leadership of The Long Now Foundation, persuaded NASA to release the Apollo satellite image of the entire earth as seen from space, perceiving that the image of our planet, "a little blue, white, green and brown jewel-like icon amongst a quite featureless black vacuum," might be a powerful symbol.

Recognizing the continents and oceans of our habitation as very small and fragile, Brand and his peers urged understanding that consumption should consider limitations of supply, and that exploitation of that Whole Earth would encounter limits. The earth as a sphere does not have infinite dimensions or contain infinite resources. The Whole Earth as a blue planet became its own symbol.

In our generation, a series of shocks of recognition are leading to the acceptance of an undeniable though inconvenient truth — human activity on this one world, on this whole earth, is not only encountering limits but is also producing changes that are irreversible and affecting everyone. Repeated climatic events of unprecedented consequence to human life, and information arrayed by computer-facilitated science, have provided ample evidence to stimulate each of us to epiphanous recognitions of our circumstances.

We are now seeking to accelerate the pace at which our species may respond to this third modern epiphany, this third shocked recognition of our circumstances.

The contributions to this policy paper manifest, in their complexity, diversity, and magnitude, why it is so difficult to respond as a resilient and adaptive species to the unprecedented circumstances before us. The increasing damage ensuing from human-induced climate change is at once general and incremental. It is everyone's problem and everyone's responsibility. It cannot be confined within any jurisdiction or time frame.

Therefore, action is required of everyone, every jurisdiction, every court, every legislature — and across time — along a very long "now" Justice can only be served by distributing the costs of alleviation and remedy across all those who would otherwise suffer and who will, instead, benefit — a list of beneficiaries that has no exceptions. Unlike all preceding allocations of rights and duties, this one is specific and, at the same time, general.

The response of the contributors to this policy paper is to move ahead, persuaded that there is already sufficient acceptance of these precepts to justify the hope of remedial action that chances of success will improve, but that events may overwhelm intention unless we are expeditious. We think universal responsibility will be accepted once it is explained, and that participation in cost-sharing will likewise occur when it is explained. We are not starting alone or without encouragement. Prophets, saints, and sages have not required Twentieth Century shocks of recognition to urge upon humankind the precepts underlying the general distribution of responsibility across generations and across jurisdictions proposed in these papers. Buddha and St. Francis both based systems of belief and of life on the integral interdependence of life on this planet.

On this continent, Jonathan Edwards in the Eighteenth Century and George Perkins Marsh in the Nineteenth warned their fellow citizens that all resources on a planet are limited, and that there would be no escaping the consequences of waste and heedless exploitation. Edwards provided us with a theology of respect for limits; Marsh bestowed upon us a history-grounded secular philosophy of intergenerational responsibility. He came to that philosophy through direct observation of the consequences of over-grazing and promiscuous lumbering in Vermont and of waste and improvidence upon the once-fertile but barren lands lying along the shores of the Mediterranean. Some of Vermont could be salvaged; it was too late for Tunisia, Sicily, and Sardinia after too many generations had pressed beyond what the earth would permit.

The planet earth does not suffer and submit beyond a point. Thereafter, it rejects species that do not comply with its rules, which supervene all legal systems. The earth is the ultimate court of appeals.

The meaning of Rachel Carson's work was that the loss of other species warns us of what can happen to our own when circumstances alter sufficiently to terminate the cycle of life.

So now, having been given adequate warning, we seek to bring our constitutional and legal systems into realistic relationship with our circumstances. We need not be abashed by the fact that much of the constitutional and legal machinery lying about us is not sufficient to deal with our circumstances. Most of us happen to be lawyers. We know what the old machinery looks like. It was made to do old tasks. But lawyers are never just lawyers. We are citizens as well, and as citizens we are attempting to work with that familiar machinery—and a few new parts—to render it useful to new necessities.

Achieving our intentions will require of us that we:
(1) Draw forth from familiar concepts, convention, law, practice, and habitual thinking those elements that can be composed into a theory shaped to meet our current necessities.

(2) Find familiar routes leading from theory to practice through which such a newly-invigorated, coherent, capacious, and more sharply relevant theory may be brought toward practice.

(3) Suggest action in each stage of that three-step progression from theory to constitution and then to law that is present in some legal systems, or, when there are only two—in the absence of constitutions—act at both of the two.
We must get on with this. Time is running out.

Roger Kennedy
Climate Legacy Initiative Distinguished Advisors Panel Member
Former Director, National Park Service
Director Emeritus, National Museum of American History


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